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6 Tips for Preventing Hair Breakage this Winter

Avatar • Nov 3, 2013

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By Chinwe of Hair and Health

Winter can easily translate into hair breakage and setbacks if you live in a region that is “fortunate” to experience brutally cold weather.  However, your hair can fair just fine during this season if you are adequately prepared. Here are just some of many ways to avoid damage to your hair this coming winter:

1. Keep your ends tucked away 

Whether your hair is loose (e.g., twist-out) or in twists (or braids), buns and tucked updos are great staple styles during this time of year.  They keep your ends hidden from the cold and dry air, thus helping to reduce moisture loss.  They also keep your hair up and away from your winter scarves, coats, and sweaters, thus helping to reduce breakage as well.  Save the “out” styles for rare occasions. 

2. Switch to heavier sealants 

Heavier sealants (like whipped butters mixed with oils) can provide longer-lasting moisture retention in the wintertime.  Hair tends to be drier during these months so light oils/products may not be as effective.  

3. Be gentle on the edges when installing and wearing braid extensions 

For many naturals, these cold months call for wearing braid extensions to protect the hair.  However, keep in mind that your natural hair underneath still requires regular moisture and conditioning.  Also, try to avoid tight braiding along the hairline that can result in broken, sparse edges.  Beware of high-tension styles, such as taut high buns, that can cause damage damage as well.  Lastly try not to wear the extensions for too long (no more than a couple of months, depending on your hair).

4. Watch those temples and nape when wearing wigs and head wraps

Wigs and head wraps also become pretty popular during this time of year. Be mindful, though, that overly frequent and long-term wearing of these styles can damage the hair along the temples and nape.  If your wig comes with clips or combs attached to the front and back, you may want to remove them to avoid breakage in that region of your hair.  (Use bobby pins instead.)  Also, wearing a silk cap under your wig can protect against moisture loss.  If you are wearing head wraps, particularly cotton ones, it may be helpful to cover your hair with a satin scarf before applying the wrap. Also, avoid wearing head wraps too tightly.

5. Double up: Satin bonnet AND satin pillowcase

I notice that wearing a satin bonnet (or scarf) in addition to sleeping on a satin pillowcase helps my hair retain more moisture than a bonnet (or scarf) alone.  That being said, once the cold season enters, I like to switch my cotton pillowcase to a satin pillowcase.  Others may or may not find this tip useful as well.

6. Incorporate pre-poos and/or co-washes 

Pre-poos (pre-shampoo treatments) and co-washes (conditioner washes) can help protect against moisture loss during the washing process … especially during the cold season.  Pre-poos usually consist of oils, conditioners, or both and are left on the hair for several minutes or hours.  Co-washes typically involve washing with a rinse-out conditioner.  For tips on effective co-washing, read this earlier BGLH post.

Ladies, how do you prevent the cold season from damaging your hair? 

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About Chinwe

Healthy hair care tips and more! http://www.healthyhairbody.com

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Mykiki1968
Mykiki1968
7 years ago

Jamaican black castor oil along with other oils. Fortunately I live in southern Texas so weather here is more tolerable. But born and raised in PA. So very firmiar with the weather. Load up on oils and moisturizers daily.

Lansky
Lansky
7 years ago

I decided that I’m not gonna wear braids extensions for a year. I can see damage on my hair from that hairstyle, but thank God I decided to stop right on time. My dead ends are cut & now I’m just gonna wear my natural hair in a marley bun. I’ll be able to take care of my hair during that time. I already have a good lenght :). I can’t wait till october 29th 2014 hihi! Pretty sure I’m gonna see resultat but I need to be patience.

KiyanniL
KiyanniL
7 years ago

Today was my wash day so instead of co-washing like I usually do, I did mix my CURLS cleanser with a Millcreek sulfate free shampoo and deep conditioned my hair with TREsemme’s naturals line. I used the Giovanni Leave in after moisturizing my hair with a mix of AVJ and water. I usually seal with Grapeseed oil, JBCO, and a few drops of peppermint oil but I left the JBCO this time. I will use it next week and I’ve pinned my twists up ever since early August. I’ve noticed way more length retention rather than leaving the twists down.… Read more »

nappy headed black girl
Reply to  KiyanniL

I feel you on this. We like to do so much to our hair that sometimes it’s detrimental. Congrats on your growth, sis.

nappy headed black girl

Theses are great tips for any time of the year. I have fine hair so winter is the only time I dare use butters. Right now I’m having luck with TGIN’s butter cream.

lauralei
lauralei
7 years ago

I now wear my satin sleeping cap inside out, which puts the smooth, satiny side against my hair.

Tina
Tina
7 years ago
Reply to  lauralei

So do I!

lauralei
lauralei
7 years ago

I do not wear a knit hat unless it has a satin lining or I will place my own satin scarf between my hair and the hat. I also use my scarves to protect my ends from my coats and mufflers.

Gina
Gina
7 years ago

I was waiting for an article about this, both for the article itself and the wonderful comments!
My hair is long enough this year to start rubbing on everything! I will have to pay more attention to it, and moisturise and seal more diligently.

Tabatha
Tabatha
7 years ago

I’m getting twist braids for New years, so I will keep that into account to keep my braids and hair moist. I always have a hard time keeping them moist. They should also add putting a silk or satin scarf over your head if you wear certain hats.

tmc (toronto meet up nov 16)

i practice all 6points. I use heavier oils, do pin hairstyles, I don’t wear out styles. i do heavy deep conditioning treatments like the ones below.
http://themanecaptain.blogspot.com/2013/10/fall-hair-therapy-moisturizing-deep.html

http://themanecaptain.blogspot.com/2013/11/fall-hair-therapy-protein-deep.html

Hilary
Hilary
7 years ago

Just about every natural on my campus are putting in Havana twists. There are more naturals now and the influx of similar styles when certain seasons hit is incredible to see!!!
I did not want to fall into the fold of havana twists so I find this to be a great post!!!

Jesse
Jesse
7 years ago

I know I can’t be the only one who LIKES to wear their natural hair out during the fall. I have been looking forward to the lack of humidity so my hair can last for more than a few minutes after I leave the house. I have natural 4c hair with tons of shrinkage.

Tracy
Tracy
7 years ago
Reply to  Jesse

I’m with you girl! I wear my hair out in the fall for the same reasons you mentioned. But, once the temp drops then I will tuck my hair away from the harsh cold. I live in Chicago and if anyone else knows our winters can be a BEAST, lol.

Tina
Tina
7 years ago
Reply to  Jesse

I rarely wear protective styles. I love wearing my hair out. I do plan on wearing kinky twists for the winter though.

Sabrina Antoinnette < link to instagram profile

I feel all of the listed items above are go-tos no matter what the season. I even opt for heavier sealants at times in the summer months depending on the weather (hotter/drier) and my activities.  learning how to properly use Castor oil last winter made all the difference for me. Winter is the season of heavy protective styling for me, I guess.… I really miss my hair in the coldest months (I live in Oslo, Norway) and I am not into wigs and weaves aside of marley and senegalese twists. Through winter I typically wear twists, wraps, and hats, but… Read more »

mary
mary
7 years ago

How do you properly apply castor oil?

SJ
SJ
7 years ago

What about products with humectants? I’ve heard some people advise against using them in the winter, and others say it’s fine so long as you layer it with a product containing water or the product with the humectant contains water. What’s the verdict?

kari
kari
7 years ago

i’ve been wearing a 27 piece wig for these colder months. i find it to be easier on my ends. every morning and night i spritz water onto my hair followed my cantu’s coconut milk holding mist and a mixture of marula and coconut oil mixed in a bottle with some honey and a dab of water. i find this wig method so easy since i wear small braids under it that i can keep in for at most 2 weeks at a time.

pup
pup
7 years ago

Is anybody wearing their hair out this winter?
I’ve been wearing braid outs and steaming my hair every other day. I wear a hood when its super cold but that’s it. I cba with all these winter hair protection rules. If my hair isn’t breaking more than usual and it’s moisturised it should be fine right?

mary
mary
7 years ago

I am struggling right now with severe dryness no matter how much I condition and seal. I use castor oil a lot (challenge) and I’m wondering if it is drying my hair out. I read that it is an humectant and that humectants pull the moisture from your hair in the colder months. I stopped using my products with glycerin because they stopped moisturing when the season changed. I’ve considered going back to grease and products with silicones until its warm again. Anyone having similar problems?

girldude
girldude
7 years ago
Reply to  mary

i was having this problem then i realised that i had low porosity hair and the moisture want really getting in my hair properly. 

Heat its a good way to lift the cuticles of the hair so the moisture can get in, so now what i do is steam my hair when i take a shower, or steam up the bathroom for 15mins whilst im doing my night-time routine and my hair stays soft and super moisturised.

mary
mary
7 years ago
Reply to  girldude

I do hot oil treatments with a hot wet towel and sit under the dryer, the deep condition the same way. I was hoping that would steam it. Maybe I’ll try the shower too. I’m thinking about investing in a steamer.

Nina
Nina
7 years ago

Glycerin is not as tricky as the natural community makes it out to be. I have been natural for over 8yrs now and I use glycerin year around. Please Google Glycerin is your friend and read that article it gives the science behind why it works and doesn’t work. In short once glycerin absorbs water to its capacity it can not absorb any more, it will not let the water molecules go or separate from it so the key to glycerin how much water ratio you mix with it to moisturize your hair properly. Now if you use Activator Gel… Read more »

Livy
Livy
7 years ago

Very informative article & its definitely right on time too! I love wearing my hair out all year long. Protective styles I can try to attempt but braids/extensions or havana twists are a no no especially with synthetic hair…I don’t need no itching and scratching. I’ll see what protective style I can do but I’ll follow those tips! Thank you kindly 🙂

mary
mary
7 years ago

I haven’t been able to successfully use my products with glycerin in them since the weather started getting cold and the dew points dropped. My hair shrinks up, dries out and the end tangle up. I love it in the summer so I wish I could find a way to use it year round. Right now my hair is a hot dry mess and its breaking from combing and picking out my fro. I have a mixture of 4a,b,c low po hair and am very frustrated right now. If anyone can help me, I would appreciate it.

Dananana
Dananana
7 years ago
Reply to  mary

Hey mary, I’m a multitextured (all the 4s with 3b/c at the nape)natural too. It’s been my experience that leaving my hair out constantly, along with frequent usage of combs and picks, is an absolute no-no for my hair…especially once things start getting chillier. If I don’t protective style and keep my ends tucked, SSKs and breakage ruin everything! But using added hair too frequently is a no-no too–it splits my ends something crazy. So my current winter regimen is this: prepoo/detangle/chunky braid with coconut oil Friday, takedown/shampoo/dc/ two strand twist Saturday, style Sunday, and leave it be the rest… Read more »

Dananana
Dananana
7 years ago
Reply to  Dananana

I have no idea why that posted twice…sorry y’all!

mary
mary
7 years ago
Reply to  Dananana

Hi Dananana thanks for the reply. I love my hair and want to wear it out soo bad but I guess I have to except it is what it is. I don’t have enough bang yet to do the roll and pin (I have a high forehead and like to have enough hair to cover it). I’ve been wearing wigs through the week and wearing my hair out on the weekends. This summer I just left it twisted around the house and picked it out when I had somewhere to go. I can’t wear anything like wraps and hats to… Read more »

Laura
Laura
7 years ago

Home made remedies are good for your hair. Unless you experience some problems which require medical treatment. Your hair often indicates the state of your whole body. That is why hair problems should be first of all treated from inside out. I have strongly suffered from hairloss over years. No external solutions could help. The thought that crossed my mind is that the issue cannot be tackled externally. So I started googling up pills and dietary supplements for hair loss conditions. There are at least 30 products sold on the Internet that are designated as hair loss products. Their price… Read more »

Hair fall solution for women

Great tips,when i am going to outside i will follow these steps to control my hair problems.

Amariah
Amariah
7 years ago

Just what I was looking for! Thank you!!
Today I wore my winter beret and wore a silk scarf underneath before I wore my hat.
Look forward to more tips!

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[…] weeks ago, I wrote about how to prevent breakage during the wintertime.  (You can view that post here.)  Though moisture loss and breakage can overlap, this post is focused more on the […]

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[…] weeks ago, I wrote about how to prevent breakage during the wintertime.  (You can view that post here.)  Though moisture loss and breakage can overlap, this post is focused more on the […]

AirCurler
6 years ago

Good read. The cold winter season seems just as difficult on our hair as the summer. Thanks for the tips.

Janet Diaz
6 years ago

Useful tips. These can really works. During the winter, hair is in deep thrust. It becomes moisture less. So you need to protect your hair to do not to loose its moisture. Try hair styles like mini twists, mini braids, etc., and do not wear wool scarfs, those can absorb all the moisture in your hair. Use caster oil, it reduces hair loss, hair breakage and also makes your hair to grow. Eat lot more veggies, proteins and omega 3 fats. These can help your hair breakage.

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[…] 6 Tips for Preventing Hair Breakage this Winter […]

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